Why I Do Not Believe the Statements From P.J. Smyth and the Elders of Covenant Life Church

“A lie that is half-truth is the darkest of all lies.”  ― Alfred Tennyson link

Trigger Warning: graphic description of physical abuse.

On March 4, 2017, the New York Times posted  Dozens Say Christian Leader Made British Boys ‘Bleed for Jesus by Ceylan Yegnsu. For those of you who did not read our previous post on John Smyth and PJ Smyth, the following two posts should get you up to date.

Covenant Life Church Sure Knows How to Pick’em – Guest Post by Todd Wilhelm
John Smyth Allegedly Led Meetings in the Nude and Wouldn’t Let Boys at Camp Wear Underwear

Further updates on John Smyth and the allegations of child abuse.

The New York Times post revealed a strange fixation by Smyth along with further descriptions of the alleged abuse.The reference to the shed is the place where the alleged abuse occurred. Here is one alleged victim's account.

Having disclosed his “sin” of masturbation, Mark Stibbe, age 17, was ordered to strip naked and lean over a wooden chair in the garden shed of a lavish Hampshire mansion on the southern coast of England.

Then came the first blow from a cane, its impact so ferocious that it sent the boy into a state of paralysis that lasted through at least 30 more strokes that left him collapsed on the floor, blood oozing down his legs.

“I remember being so appalled by how vicious the first lash was that I couldn’t scream,” Mr. Stibbe, now 56 and an acclaimed Christian author, recalled on a recent afternoon in his Yorkshire home. “You’re in this tiny shed full of canes with this man. I felt utterly powerless.”

According to the alleged victims (I believe them), John Smyth had a preoccupation with the sin of masturbation.

Mr. Stibbe said, “The sin that seemed to preoccupy him more than anything was masturbation, and he managed to persuade me that I needed to purge my body of that sin.”

One young man attempted suicide after he was promised an especially severe beating for his 21st birthday.

Mr. Smyth would explain to the boys why they needed to be punished so severely. “He quoted from the Bible and told me I had to bleed for Jesus,” said another victim, who attempted suicide on his 21st birthday, after Mr. Smyth promised him “a special kind of beating” for the occasion.

“When he was done, he would lean in towards me and put his face on my neck telling me how proud he was of me,” said the man

Many victims accused the church and boarding school of covering up the scandal to protect their reputation.

Let me add a short rant here. Our reputation as Christians should be found in our open admission that were are sinners in need of forgiveness. If we truly believe we are sinners, then there is not need to protect our reputation. Perhaps these folks do not understand the basic message of the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus. Rant over.

But several of the victims who spoke to The New York Times have accused members of the church and boarding school of covering up the scandal. They said the institutions had wanted to protect their reputation and some of their senior members, who had supported some of Mr. Smyth’s theological interpretations that the victims say led to the practice of violent atonement.

The grooming process for those who would be abused is described by the victims.

They said he would select a small group of the brightest and handsomest teenage boys to join him at his nearby mansion for a traditional Sunday roast beef dinner, complete with roast potatoes, peas and gravy.

When the meal was over, he allowed them to play games in his garden and swim in his private pool, creating a family environment that had been absent from the boys’ lives since they had been sent away to boarding school at the age of 7 or 8. He spent the summers befriending them in elite Christian camps, training them in his ultraliteralistic interpretation of the Bible and guiding them toward careers in the military and the church.

But once he had won their trust and established a bond that many of them said had been akin to a father-and-son relationship, the nature of the meetings took a sinister turn. The victims said they had fallen so deeply under Mr. Smyth’s thrall that they hadn’t even dared to talk to one another about the horrors they had been subjected to in the shed.

Many of them felt deep shame and said they had been resigned to the culture of abuse, which in their minds was a fact of life in the British education system at the time.

A further clarification by P.J. Smyth leads me to believe that he is not fully disclosing the truth.

Brent Detwiler wrote an excellent post dealing with the changing statements of P.J. Smyth who is now the lead pastor of Covenant Life Church. In Lead Pastor P.J. Smyth Deceives Covenant Life Church About Knowledge of John Smyth’s Violent Beating of BoysBrent outlined what he considers to be deception by both P.J. Smyth and the elders.

P.J.'s original statement.

Here is a link to P.J.'s original statement. In my opinion, he is implying that he had a happy childhood albeit he appears to hint at the use of corporal punishment in the home. he also denies seeing any sort of abuse.

During the time we lived in the UK, I was in boarding school from the age of 8 to 13. When I was home I never saw or heard anything that led me to suspect my father was engaged in the activities alleged. I had a happy childhood at home, and my father disciplined me in a manner consistent with the laws and cultural trends of the UK at the time, not in a manner alleged in the recent reports.

P.J. admitted that he was *mistaken* in his original statement.

The update is quoted in Brent's post.

UPDATE, FEBRUARY 22: Since writing this I have realized that it is not strictly accurate to say, “I was not involved with those interactions” and I am sorry for the confusion this has caused.  I was seeking to write in a timely way what I remembered, but my memory was flawed. The Covenant Life elders have commented here. —PJ Smyth 

Here is what the CLC elders had to say about his amended statement.

Update from the Covenant Life Elders was written to the church on February 22, 2017. In this update, they actually express sympathy for those who are suffering. However, I do not know if they mean the alleged victims or John Smyth and the family or both. I sure wish they could come out and express concern for the victims but that does not appear to be the style of this ex SGM church.

It appears P.J. *suddenly* remembered a meeting in the 90s in which these problems were discussed. Oddly he remembered it after receiving a letter from Zimbabwe reminding him.

As we began to read these reports, questions naturally arose: Did PJ know of such allegations against his father? If so, when did he learn of them? Anticipating these questions and more, PJ wrote an open letter on February 4. Among other things, PJ stated in this letter that he was “aware that a delegation of pastors and parents insisted that [his] father and the Board of Zambesi Holidays make adjustments to camp life.” He also wrote that he “was not involved with those interactions.”

Two days after posting his open letter, PJ received emails from a UK reporter and a pastor in Zimbabwe that referenced his attendance at a meeting in June of 1993 where certain allegations of his father's misconduct were discussed. Though he could not remember details of the meeting, PJ immediately informed the elders that his open letter was inaccurate. The following day he and his wife Ashleigh spoke directly with the Zimbabwe pastor.

And, of course, P.J. was being honest.

we also believe PJ was seeking to communicate honestly and in a timely way what he remembered. We believe he acted in good faith but his recollection of these earlier events was flawed.

Likewise, the Zimbabwe pastors who attended the June 1993 meeting have told us they do not believe PJ was being deceitful in his open letter but instead was struggling to remember details from events over two decades ago. In addition, family, friends, and ministry colleagues who have known PJ for many years affirm PJ’s consistent pattern of integrity and honesty. And ever since the media reports about his father broke, our experience with PJ is that he has been humble, open and eager to do whatever would honor the Lord and best serve the church.

I say hogwash to all of this.

It is time to get real about abuse and stop pretending that the person we like could not be involved. There are a number of reasons why I believe that P.J. knew and knows what is going on.

He grew up in a home with a father who is abusive to boys and has an odd fixation about masturbation. 

He tries to downplay growing up in John Smyth's home because he went to boarding school. However, he spent his first 8 years in that home and returned home for extended vacations as well as attending his father's camps. If the reports on the father are true, and I believe they are, it is highly unlikely that his son was spared such beatings. I believe he hints at this possibility in his original statement.

He added to his statement only after he was contacted by people who had facts that he was at a meeting.

Unfortunately, I have a hard time believing that he only remembered when he received contacts from his previous life. I have a feeling that there will eventually be more *contacts* as the case against his father develops. 

He allegedly attended and perhaps assisted at his father's camps as he grew older. Did he escape such abuse?

Was he the only one who did not know what was going on in *the shed?* Did he turn his eyes away from those who were bruised and bloody? I must also question if PJ was abused at the hands of his father. I find it hard to believe that John beat a bunch of boys but held off on his own son. If such abuse happened (and I cannot, at this time, prove that it did) it would be natural for PJ to view the abuse of other boys as natural.

Why did P.J .come to the US to become a pastor at CLC?

If PJ knew about the abuse, he may have suspected that this stuff would become known in the coming years. I find it interesting that he chose CLC that has had its own sad history of dealing with sex abuse allegations. Someone suggested that he began his church search before this stuff hit social media. However, I believe that he knew what had occurred and may have suspected that this would eventually come to light.

Also, many members of the Calvinista crowd seem to quite able to overlook child sex abuse cover up so long as the individual is one of their tribe. I bet John Piper would be delighted to come to CLC and encourage the membership.

In one of our posts on the matter, we discussed that John Smyth Allegedly Led Meetings in the Nude and Wouldn’t Let Boys at Camp Wear Underwear

It is important to understand that if these allegation are true, John Smyth was not simply physically abusing these boys, he was molesting them. Such behavior has a strong sexual component to it. In my opinion, we are dealing with a combination of sexual abuse and physical abuse which is sadistic in nature. Are we to believe that this did not once enter the home environment? Sorry, that dog don't hunt. If he was abused, then PJ has been deeply harmed in his younger years and has not dealt with it since he claims he never saw any abuse.

The only way to overcome abuse is to stop denying it.

It is my hope that if anyone in the Smyth household was subjected to alleged abuse, they will seek help. Sooner or later, pain will rear its ugly head and it will need to be dealt with .

Brent Detwiler's exhaustive look at statements by P.J. Smyth and the CLC elders. 

Brent Detwiler has written an in depth post looking at statements by PJ and the elders. He concludes that Smyth is deliberately deceiving CLC about what he knows about his father's alleged abuses. I am including one part of his extensive documentation. I highly recommend that you read his entire post.

I am convinced that more will be coming out as John Smyth's activities continue to be followed by the international press. I hope CLC understand that the eyes of the world will be on CLC and that business as usual will not cut it. TWW is committed to following up on all new revelations.

*****************************

P.J.,

This will be brief.  Much more could be said.

You made several misleading and deceptive statements to the members of CLC on Thursday.   

Statement on UK Media Reports
Date: February 2, 2017
Author: PJ Smyth 

I became aware yesterday that a story broke in the UK media reporting that my father, John Smyth, was apparently involved in excessive physical discipline of high school/college aged boys more than three decades ago, when our family lived in the UK.  I was about 10 years old at the time.

Several decades later I became aware that there were questions about my father’s ministry in the UK, although I had no knowledge of specifics.  Reading the reports is deeply troubling, and my heart and prayers go out to anyone who was, or is, affected by this situation in any way.

First, you made this statement knowing full well UK media were also reporting on the alleged physical abuse of young men by your father after he left the UK in 1984 for Zimbabwe where he lived for the next 17 years before moving to South Africa in 2001.

This omission was intentional and I am sure it was purposeful.  You didn’t want CLC members to know about the alleged beatings of boys and young men in Zimbabwe.  Instead, you wanted them to think it was all in the distant past – “more than three decades ago” and confined to the UK.  That is deceptive.  It is the same strategy that was employed by CLC and SGM [regarding the sexual abuse of children]. 

Nor did you want them to know your father was charged with the culpable homicide of 16-year-old Guide Nyachuru in 1992 [correction: he was charged in 1997, Nyachuru died in Dec 1992] and five criminal counts of crimen injuria in 1993 [correction: he was charged in 1997, the incidents occurred in Apr 1993].  That is, “unlawfully, intentionally and seriously impairing the dignity of another.”     

You also refer to the alleged beatings as “excessive physical discipline.”  That is not the way the victims, news media or Church of England have reported their experience or the story.  You are twisting and watering down for CLC what your father is accused of doing.  You are not giving them the facts as reported.  You are covering up.

You also distance yourself from any knowledge of events by stating, “I was about 10 years old at the time.”  That leaves the false impression that everything related to alleged beatings happened in the UK when you were very young.  You intentionally didn’t tell CLC about the reported beatings and criminal charges in Zimbabwe or your participation in your father’s camp when these things were reportedly occurring.  You obviously knew some of the alleged victims, like Guide Nyachuru.  You were probably friends.    

In the second paragraph, you say, “Several decades later I became aware that there were questions about my father’s ministry in the UK, although I had no knowledge of specifics.”  Maybe, maybe not, regarding the UK but you continue the deception regarding no knowledge of the prominent media reports covering the 17 years in Zimbabwe.  You made the statement after lunch on Thursday, February 2.  You said you were “reading the reports.”  By this time, your sister had already done her interview with the BBC and talked about life in the boy’s camp in Zimbabwe.  You were not ignorant of the coverage but intentionally left it out.  The question is why?

As a result of these misleading and deceptive comments, you were contacted by the national press [e.g. Channel 4 News UK] according to sources.    You reference this when you say “there have been enquiries about what I knew and when.”  These enquiries forced you to make a more detailed statement the following day that included reference to your participation in the holiday camps.     

P.J., given your repeated obfuscation in the first statement, it would be foolish to believe anything in your second statement.  For instance, when you say, “I attended a number of Zambesi Holidays camps [in Zimbabwe] and I was never aware of any abuse.”  That is a categorical denial.  You claim you were never made aware of any abuse by anyone at any time under any circumstances. 

I’ve been at this a long time.  I’ve seen leaders in CLC and SGM repeatedly lie and deceive.  I will not be surprised if evidence comes out in the future that proves you are lying.  I hope that is not the case, but if it is, now is the time to be honest with the CLC elders.  If you cover up further, your demise is certain and extraordinary harm will come to the church.

Finally, a word to the CLC elders.  Investigate closely and follow the story carefully.  More comes out every day.  Do not passively accept P.J.’s explanations.  Furthermore, he should be reproved by you for his disingenuous statement on Thursday.  It should cause you great concern!  He should also ask CLC to forgive him.


Comments

Why I Do Not Believe the Statements From P.J. Smyth and the Elders of Covenant Life Church — 119 Comments

  1. It is a warped, sick misrepresentation of the Christian faith to say that any of the behaviors alleged against Smyth have anything to do with Christianity other that being shunned by Jesus the Christ. Certifiable masochism.

  2. From the post: “The grooming process for those who would be abused is described by the victims.”

    The sense of a father caring for young boys that needed a father-figure brings to mind the Penn State Jerry Sandusky case where he would “treat” boys to football games and then take them into the locker room for the shower treatment. Like the church community cover-up, the university also wanted to protect their reputation, not the innocence of children. These “Christians” are no different than the world – the silent complicit ones, who are in the know, stand by, and say/do nothing.

    Great post, Dee and Deb – truth and transparency.

  3. this is a very sad but well written article Brent has done a great job and boy he has taken heat on what he is writing about.

  4. JYJames wrote:

    These “Christians” are no different than the world – the silent complicit ones, who are in the know, stand by, and say/do nothing.

    The answer, from the post: “It is time to get real about abuse and stop pretending that the person we like could not be involved.”

    When it comes to telling it like it is, God has no sacred cow – no lay person or leader or institution or teaching or theology is immune to criticism or questioning.

  5. Thank you, Dee and Deb, for continuing to call out and expose abuse in all its forms within Christian churches and communities. It is the duty of church leaders to protect its people, and most especially children because they are the most vulnerable. Jesus wanted little children to come to him and told us that we need to be like little children in faith in order to enter the kingdom of God.

    The horrific abuse that John Smythe allegedly committed turned that childlike innocence and trust against the children and warped those traits for his own sadistic purposes. Jesus gave a stern warning to people like John Smythe in Luke 17:2 (NIV): “It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

  6. Oh gosh, I have a son that age, and experienced varying kinds of abuse myself, growing up. I felt like I couldn’t breathe for a moment, and felt like I might throw up, when I read the details of what happened in the shed.

    Maybe a trigger warning might be helpful?

  7. I had a pastor who suggested that a congregant, and a friend of mine, move back I into the home with his physically abusive wife in order to “bleed for Jesus”. It seems like “bleeding for Jesus” is a common suggestion from bullies and incompetants.

  8. Loren Haas wrote:

    I had a pastor who suggested that a congregant, and a friend of mine, move back I into the home with his physically abusive wife in order to “bleed for Jesus”. It seems like “bleeding for Jesus” is a common suggestion from bullies and incompetants.

    I am not a theologian, but isn’t this kind of warped? I thought Jesus did all the bleeding necessary. The idea that after the death and resurrection of the Son of God we still need to bleed just strikes me as wrong.

    As for the NY Times, it really missed a big story by failing to follow up on the PJ Smyth angle. I hope someone is doing that.

  9. It’s hard to imagine P.J. wasn’t abused. And I bet he knew about other boys. But I could also see him blocking out and repressing a lot of memories. I mean, this is his dad and he seems to still have some affection for him (he hasn’t turned on him, which would be the easy thing to do). It couldn’t have been easy growing up with Smyth as a father and I honestly feel sorry for P.J. I can’t imagine the trauma any of those boys must have gone through, let alone his son. He probably needs some actual therapy and he should step down from ministry.

  10. Loren Haas wrote:

    I had a pastor who suggested that a congregant, and a friend of mine, move back I into the home with his physically abusive wife in order to “bleed for Jesus”. It seems like “bleeding for Jesus” is a common suggestion from bullies and incompetants.

    This isn’t even close to the same situation, but when a family at church started attacking us and trying hold secret meetings one of the elders said it was good for us to suffer and not be vindicated because it made us more like Christ. Asking someone to voluntarily suffer when it’s in your power to stop it makes you a coward, not righteous.

  11. I’m reading through the post about the possible denial of the son that he knew of his father’s terrible abuses;
    and that he himself was not abused by this father.

    I’m thinking of a similar situation …. the sister of James White claims she was sexually abused by their father. James White denies knowledge of it and goes further and completely cuts himself off from his sister, Patty.

    Patty speaks of this herself, here:
    ” I was born into the same family as my brother, James R. White. Our parents were both victims of abuse as young people. They carried those scars as people in those days did: silently. Silently, and without resolution, because no one talked about those things. You just toughed it out and did the best you could.

    After spending a lengthy time working through the sexual abuse that my father subjected me to for years, I had to confront my brother with the truth.

    “my brother James was hostile, defensive, and threatening. He warned me to “watch what I said” about my parents. He also made a very feeble comment about hoping he could “help me” someday” ”

    The link that quotes Patty continues with this observation:

    “If James White would take this kind of attitude toward his own sister about sexual abuse (perhaps because he’s “not an expert” on the subject) then in my opinion that speaks volumes about why he would be unwilling to speak out about the issues at SGM.”
    https://dorightchristians.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/response-to-james-white/

    so, good work, DEE in confronting the son of John Smyth. I think you have seen into a ‘pattern’ of generational pain and denial of abuse. How many more James Whites and P.J. Smyths are there in Christianity? If these men are ‘experts’, then you have uncovered the real horror of what it is they really know about and how they now deny and push away all reminders, even the cries of current victims in their own time.
    Good work, DEE. God Bless.

  12. “We believe he acted in good faith but his recollection of these earlier events was flawed.”–clc elders
    +++++++++++++++++

    something about this statement catches my attention.

    it’s awkward — “his recollection … was flawed”. unnatural wording. like it’s the product of trying too hard to wordsmith something very problematic.

    like, it’s betraying their consternation.

    recollection is flawed = selective memory… was it on purpose? they can’t know for sure, so they try to downplay it with words but clumsily, and slap on “acted in good faith” for gravitas. the spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down.

    all in all, that statement has an air of trying too hard. to spin and smooth dissonance.

  13. Christiane wrote:

    a ‘pattern’ of generational pain and denial of abuse. How many more James Whites and P.J. Smyths are there in Christianity?

    The essential question.
    Is the church a haven for predators?

  14. elastigirl wrote:

    recollection is flawed = selective memory… was it on purpose?

    I worked at a company once where the CEO attempted to takeover the company by secretly working board members behind the scene to back his aspirations. It got to the point that he had to tell a lie to cover a lie. He wove a deception so elaborate that he forgot which lie he told last, which finally caught up with him; his scheme was exposed and he was terminated.

  15. Loren Haas wrote:

    It seems like “bleeding for Jesus” is a common suggestion from bullies and incompetants.

    Wow! This was the first time I have heard of this. Thank you for letting us know.

  16. @ Max:
    I have to agree with you. Add to that his old statement about discipline in accordance with *acceptable* British practices at the time and I believe he knew.

    What is sad, he, too, may have been hurt and is not dealing with it.

  17. preacher’s wife wrote:

    But I could also see him blocking out and repressing a lot of memories.

    preacher’s wife wrote:

    honestly feel sorry for P.J. I can’t imagine the trauma any of those boys must have gone through, let alone his son. He probably needs some actual therapy and he should step down from ministry.

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Also, if he was exposed to this behavior from an early age, he, too, may downplay abuse which is dangerous, especially for a church with CLC’s history.

  18. I watched a couple of reruns of Law and Orders SVU last night. It was deeply disturbing as it showed the collusions between some rogues law enforcement officials and the church in regards to human trafficking.As I think back on the last 8 years of blogging, I find myself more and more aware of the deeply embedded sin of all kinds of abuse in our society. Sadly, the church is not leading the way in eliminating this. Instead, they are in it up to their eyeballs.

  19. Christiane wrote:

    I’m thinking of a similar situation …. the sister of James White claims she was sexually abused by their father. James White denies knowledge of it and goes further and completely cuts himself off from his sister, Patty.

    This situation is also exacerbated by the fact that Patty converted to Roman Catholicism years ago. Part of James’ career has been debating Catholic apologists, and that probably was an embarrassment for him. After all, if Catholicism is so obviously wrong, and Reformed Baptist theology so obviously right, why would anyone go the direction she did?

  20. @ dee:
    It was the first thing that came to mind when I read your post ….. truth being, I hadn’t had any coffee yet 🙂

    I hope I made sense and I’m glad if it helps you, Dee.

  21. NJ wrote:

    This situation is also exacerbated by the fact that Patty converted to Roman Catholicism years ago. Part of James’ career has been debating Catholic apologists, and that probably was an embarrassment for him. After all, if Catholicism is so obviously wrong, and Reformed Baptist theology so obviously right, why would anyone go the direction she did?

    At which point the “NO POPERY!” weapon comes into play.

    It’d be a real kicker if the RCC becomes the refugee camp for those fleeing such abuse. I know Rome duct-taped my head back together after the Calvary Chapel clones tore it apart.

  22. dee wrote:

    I love this song and I super love Johnny Cash.

    The Book of Proverbs is full of the warnings Cash sings about.

  23. I do not believe PJ for one minute. Whether that is intentional or whether he was himself abused and now has some sort of PTSD or similar who knows at this point.

    I want to know how come these older teen boys did not recognize sexual sadism when they saw it and did not think the emphasis on masturbation was a huge red flag. Where were their families who left them uninformed and vulnerable. They sound like thrown away children. More people that just daddy-perv are at fault here.

    The statement has been made that all females live their entire lives in fear of rape. Perhaps. So is nobody educating the boys of what can happen to them; is it just the girls who are warned?

  24. Good job Mom! CLC will always have its corrupt past which they have not dealt with properly. Until they do stuff like this will continue to happen.

  25. Loren Haas wrote:

    I had a pastor who suggested that a congregant, and a friend of mine, move back I into the home with his physically abusive wife in order to “bleed for Jesus”. It seems like “bleeding for Jesus” is a common suggestion from bullies and incompetants.

    These warped loonies that tell other people to “bleed for Jesus” …… (Okay, I can be a bit vindictive) …….. those warped loonies need do do some bleeding themselves!
    If anyone treated my child, even my dogs, the way those boys were treated by JS …….. I would find some joy in ….. uhm …… I’ll bet you can guess the rest.

  26. dee wrote:

    Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
    Still angry about this ugly abuse,

    I have to admit that sometimes I become fearful at the extent of abuse found on the church universal.

    It is disturbing. But this one also seems like church and ‘british boarding school culture’ wrapped into one. Which is still disturbing, but more foreign to me.

  27. preacher’s wife wrote:

    This isn’t even close to the same situation, but when a family at church started attacking us and trying hold secret meetings one of the elders said it was good for us to suffer and not be vindicated because it made us more like Christ.

    As long as HE wasn’t the one suffering.

  28. Lea wrote:

    But this one also seems like church and ‘british boarding school culture’ wrapped into one. Which is still disturbing, but more foreign to me.

    Looks like the two (church and Brit boarding school culture) went synergistic on this one.

  29. Deb, Dee, could you start a category tag for this whole schemer? I think it’s going to need one of its own before long. Same with the WOFF abuse scandal.

  30. elastigirl wrote:

    “his recollection … was flawed”

    Well, I suppose that would be right. If P.J. Smyth doesn’t have enough smarts to steer clear of CLC (with SGM fingerprints still on it), we shouldn’t expect his recollections about anything to be flawless. These are just not very intelligent folks who hang out in Mahaney’s old stomping grounds, bless their hearts.

  31. preacher’s wife wrote:

    when a family at church started attacking us and trying hold secret meetings one of the elders said it was good for us to suffer and not be vindicated because it made us more like Christ. Asking someone to voluntarily suffer when it’s in your power to stop it makes you a coward, not righteous.

    It also makes the ‘elder’ a serious sinner:
    he is sanctioning the behavior of the family who was attacking you unfairly, which encourages their sinful and unjust treatment of you

    He is bullying you by proxy, using the attacking family as his instrument

    if this is ‘leadership’, it comes from a place of evil

    In Christianity, it is considered wrong to witness the suffering of another and not intervene to stop it if at all possible ….. we don’t add to one another’s troubles, no;
    we are supposed to ‘bear one another’s burdens’ in accordance with the Royal Law of Christ

    that ‘elder’ may have no knowledge of the Royal Law, but I thought it was in the Bible (maybe his version doesn’t contain it?)

  32. dee wrote:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Also, if he was exposed to this behavior from an early age, he, too, may downplay abuse which is dangerous, especially for a church with CLC’s history.

    With CLC’s past of sexual abuse coverups, that’s a Feature, not a Bug.

  33. Christiane – Galatians 3:23 – Bear ye one another’s burdens. Surely the elders learned that verse, they just choose not to practice it. I learned this verse as a memory verse back in Sunday School. But maybe the elders didn’t grow up in church. Doesn’t matter to me one bit. If we as Christians aren’t practicing Galatians 3:23, then we are severely lacking. It’s part of loving your neighbor as yourself.

  34. dee wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    We will do that as we make major changes to the website. Also, I have a proposal for you. Will write you in the next week.

    Ditto that. Given things HUG has said, I would like to hear the entire story.
    I am not among them, but I believe there are people here who have been in similar situations that would glean some benefit from it.

  35. dee wrote:

    I find myself more and more aware of the deeply embedded sin of all kinds of abuse in our society. Sadly, the church is not leading the way in eliminating this. Instead, they are in it up to their eyeballs.

    This is my conclusion, as well. Up to their eyeballs and in hard denial.

  36. elastigirl wrote:

    “We believe he acted in good faith but his recollection of these earlier events was flawed.”–clc elders
    +++++++++++++++++
    something about this statement catches my attention.
    it’s awkward — “his recollection … was flawed”. unnatural wording. like it’s the product of trying too hard to wordsmith something very problematic.

    recollection is flawed = selective memory… was it on purpose? they can’t know for sure, so they try to downplay it with words but clumsily, and slap on “acted in good faith” for gravitas.

    Perhaps it can be akin to “willful blindness.”

  37. dee wrote:

    @ Christiane:
    Your comment was so good, and I had not heard of this, that I have put it into a draft to do a post. Thank you.

    I had heard about the rift between James White and his sister, Patty, many years ago. It was evident from all that I read how deeply hurt she was that her brother refused to believe her – even speak to her. Instead, he publicly insulted her.

  38. Darlene wrote:

    elastigirl wrote:

    “We believe he acted in good faith but his recollection of these earlier events was flawed.”–clc elders
    +++++++++++++++++
    something about this statement catches my attention.
    it’s awkward — “his recollection … was flawed”. unnatural wording. like it’s the product of trying too hard to wordsmith something very problematic.

    recollection is flawed = selective memory… was it on purpose? they can’t know for sure, so they try to downplay it with words but clumsily, and slap on “acted in good faith” for gravitas.

    Perhaps it can be akin to “willful blindness.”

    “We believe he acted in good faith” [because if we don’t believe this, we will have to admit to ourselves (and then probably, but not certainly, to you, who expected us to do our due diligence), that we reneged on our Holy duty to bring to you someone who could heal us of our checkered past and, by golly, how did we miss this? Is our discernment really this skewed and flawed? Are we really this damaged? Are we damaged goods? I thought we could just cover up our former ills with a few good words and all will be forgiven and forgotten and with a new senior pastor we could move on from the embarrassing reputation which that rascal Ceej put us in, but noooo, we, elders, have ushered in and invited another sexual abuse coverup in through our front door with great fan fare, so let’s fall back on what we know how to do with excellence – which was the mantra we all learned from the beginning of The Gathering, to do all things with excellence – let’s spin a tale of innocent denial and repeat together, “Who, Us? You want to hold US poor blinded elders to account? How could you? WE are the victims here! We didn’t know! We repeat, WE are the true victims! See? Have mercy on us and pity us and come beside us to support us in our hour of trial.] “but his recollection of these earlier events was flawed.” [because if his recollection wasn’t flawed, he lied to us. He lied to US and we are THE elders what did we ever do to deserve him lying to us. This is such a twisted tale and all about how we are the victims of lying and we cannot stomach the thought that we, who are elders in this most important church in the D.C area and full of influence and influential people have to face another season of scrutiny for being anything other than the wonderful beacon of Light and TRUTH that we know we are. So, come on now, let’s all move on. There is absolutely nothing to see here.]

  39. IMPORTANT COMMENT FROM DEE TO OUR READERS!

    I did not approve one comment since it seemed to continue the Catholic debate. Christiane’s commentswas allowed because it discussed a possible abuse situation-a hill to die on for this blog. Since her comment, I have been doing some reading about the situation and will do a post on the matter at some point.

    In that post, I will not discuss Catholicism in detail but will mention that James White would not have been pleased by his sister’s decision to convert to Catholicism and query if this might be the reason for his apparent lack of empathy (although I might change my view upon further research) for her alleged abuse.c

    This blogs welcomes all people regardless of belief system. I have no problem with outsiders who are not Christian, going after Christianity. However, within the faith, I do not want either side making this a battlefield for Protestantism versus Catholicism.

    There is a wonderful priest who follows this blog who is doing much in prevent child sex abuse and caring for the victims.I admire him greatly. He puts some Protestant leaders to shame. he and I communicate behind the scenes. But I know he is reading comments.

    I, for one, am sick and tired of the debate of who is a truly saved Christian-be it evangelicals, catholics or orthodox. I leave the salvation issue up to the One who is at an infinitely higher pay grade.

    Since there seems to be interest in going down this road. I suggest that those who wish to debate this set up a simple blog and continue the debate. I might even visit and throw in a comment or two. However, this is not going to be allowed here.

    Right now, we have an almost overwhelming number of serious stories to cover. I am not sure how we are going to cover everything at the level that we want to with so much going on. The Deebs cannot monitor each and every spat here. We are getting some people to help us with that because we have only so much time in the day.

    This week, I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and will begin methotrexate. I am often exhausted and have quite a bit of pain. Deb and her husband run a large farm and the planting season is upon us. There is just so much we can do.

    I love to talk and have relationships with our readers. I spent 4 days in Tucson visiting with mirele. I do not want this personal connection to disappear. I do not want to become a *talking head.* My greatest love in blogging is getting to know some of you. I will not blog if this personal connection is lost.

    We are working diligently to make changes on this blog to streamline some things and I think all of you will like what we are going to be doing. But…we need time to make these changes while at the same time writing new posts and caring for those who have been abused and need support. I, personally, would like to spend more time engaging in discussion with the comments.

    We must make these changes but we need the help of all of you. Please do not go off on tangents. If you wish to discuss off topic stuff, go to open discussion. Even there, please stop attacking one another. People on this blog have been deeply hurt by some personal rejoinders which are derogatory. One of those people I hope will stay with us and help us monitor the conversations. This person is a wonderful commenter and I think you all might be surprised that she/he has been deeply hurt.

    This comment is not directed to most people who comment here. I think the ones to whom this is directed will know who they are.

    IMPT POINT: Remember: many people who come hear have been hurt by the church. They don’t need to be hurt again.

    Remember:

    No discussion of politics unless it involves child sex abuse or one of the many subjects we write about. Even then, be discrete and thoughtful.

    No fights about Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Protestantism as large groups. However, if one of these groups has a story about topics covered on this blog, be kind when you talk about it.

    Please help the Deebs by self monitoring. If there is a fight going on, send us an email with Comment Thread Fight in the subject line. We will not be mad if you do. However, we get to decide what is a fight and what is a heated yet thoughtful discussion.

    Please try to stick to the post for comments. We are not hard nosed about this but things have been getting off track. This post was about John and PJ Smyth and CLC. A major discussion on Catholicism is not warranted.

    Please do this especially in the next 6 weeks as we struggle with some ideas to help us handle the volume of abuse stories coming our way. We have to investigate each one of these and that takes time. There are two stories we are looking at that will cause in uproar when and if we post them.

    You are welcome to discuss this comment in this thread.

  40. dee wrote:

    This week, I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and will begin methotrexate. I am often exhausted and have quite a bit of pain.

    Bless you Dee, I’m so sorry.

  41. dee wrote:

    You are welcome to discuss this comment in this thread.

    Have been discussing over on the open thread a bit so I don’t want to get too into it. My only comment on this is that things keep getting brought up (and often asserted as fact) but if you respond or disagree then it feels like you are the one derailing the thread (even though it has already been derailed!). Which is sometimes frustrating when one is trying to be respectful of you and Deb, but also tired of hearing the same things being brought up and unable to respond. Personally, I dislike nasty tone far more than topic drift.

  42. Dee – I understand you arthritis pain. I have been diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis in my right shoulder. Somedays, like today, I get up, eat breakfast, take pain meds, and go back to bed for a couple of hours. My surgery for this is on the 21st of this month. I pray that yours never progresses to the point of having surgery. Gentle hugs my friend.

  43. Dale wrote:

    I have been deemed pathological by Headless Unicorn Guy. I have had my manhood questioned by Velour. She thinks I am in desperate need of counseling.

    Please read the above comment that I just wrote. I KNOW people have been mean on occasion and I am taking steps to prevent this in the future. That *censor* does not exist at this moment. Hopefully it will be in place this week.

    We are doing our level best, Dale. Please give us a break at this moment. You know we think highly of you. We posted your story. Try to imagine us as trying our best to be kind, thoughtful and hard hitting at the same time and apply some grace as we make choices. We are not perfect and, to be frank, we are super overwhelmed. Add to what I said above, my dishwasher leaked all over my kitchen and shorted out my garbage disposable and trash compacter. I am sitting in the middle of the kitchen, commenting with towels all over the place, things out of the under sink cupboard and some ladies about to arrive to clean my house since I need help now do to my pain.

    Grace, please, grace. We love you, Dale, and we love Christiane. You are both welcome here.

  44. dee wrote:

    Grace, please, grace. We love you, Dale, and we love Christiane. You are both welcome here.

    love you back, dear ….. will vigil for you and for Harley tonight as I remember my sister-in-law who died yesterday

    all shall be well in the Kingdom of Our Lord

  45. dee wrote:

    Add to what I said above, my dishwasher leaked all over my kitchen and shorted out my garbage disposable and trash compacter.

    Oh no!

  46. @ dee:

    “Please try to stick to the post for comments. ”
    ++++++++++++++++

    brief forays into chocolate and cheese ok?

    Deebs — This is such a labor of love on your part. It’s is such an amazing thing you do for all of us, and for ‘society’ (is that the right word?) I’m sure you have far-reaching impact, in space and time.

    You know those TV episodes or movies where it shows what things would have been like if a person hadn’t existed? illustrating the reach and layers of impact just one person has, and it’s always so surprising and of consequence? Well,…

    i love how the blog comment experience is like sitting around a dining room table noshing and sipping and yelling across at so&so and quiet side conversations with the one next to you, all at the same time.

  47. dee wrote:

    This week, I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and will begin methotrexate. I am often exhausted and have quite a bit of pain.

    Dee, I will be praying for you on this. Arthritis sucks. I also ask He give you wisdom and strength and peace as you research and investigate and write. You are loved much.

  48. elastigirl wrote:

    i love how the blog comment experience is like sitting around a dining room table noshing and sipping and yelling across at so&so and quiet side conversations with the one next to you, all at the same time.

    I have always loved this about this place, too. Well described. 🙂

  49. elastigirl wrote:

    i love how the blog comment experience is like sitting around a dining room table noshing and sipping and yelling across at so&so and quiet side conversations with the one next to you, all at the same time.

    So, are you trying to make me cry. You nailed how I want this blog to be.

  50. Remnant wrote:

    let’s fall back on what we know how to do with excellence – which was the mantra we all learned from the beginning of The Gathering, to do all things with excellence – let’s spin a tale of innocent denial and repeat together, “Who, Us? You want to hold US poor blinded elders to account? How could you? WE are the victims here! We didn’t know! We repeat, WE are the true victims! See? Have mercy on us and pity us and come beside us to support us in our hour of trial.

    Sounds like a Sociopath who got caught and is playing the Poor Poor Pitiful Innocent Victim while shining his Stupid Ray on all around him. Blame Shift, Blame Shift, Blame Shift.

    Some study claimed that the most widespread characteristic of a Sociopath is the ability to Arouse Pity For Me, shift the blame, and play the Poor Poor Innocent Victim at the drop of a hat (dropping the hat themselves).

    And everyone except their victim(s) WILL believe them. (That’s why it’s called “Mutant Superpower: Inflict Guilt” or “Shining the Stupid Ray”.)

  51. dee wrote:

    I, for one, am sick and tired of the debate of who is a truly saved Christian-be it evangelicals, catholics or orthodox. I leave the salvation issue up to the One who is at an infinitely higher pay grade.

    From experience, the de facto definition of “who is a truly saved Christian” is “Me, NOT Thee”.

    This week, I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and will begin methotrexate.

    Psoriatic arthritis?
    How does that differ from the baseline version?

  52. dee wrote:

    No fights about Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Protestantism as large groups. However, if one of these groups has a story about topics covered on this blog, be kind when you talk about it.

    We (the commenters) need to keep in mind, evil people are not restricted to a particular Christian religious faith. Evil people can be anywhere, in any faith – and they probably are. And just because some evil has been exposed within a certain faith, it doesn’t mean everyone within that faith is evil.
    If the children/teenagers of various faiths at the Christian school where I taught can disagree agreeably, why can’t we???

    Oh, Dee! What a mess with which you are dealing! I hope your meds work well, and I hope your floor doesn’t have water damage!

  53. dee wrote:

    IMPT POINT: Remember: many people who come hear have been hurt by the church. They don’t need to be hurt again.

    THANK YOU. I was thinking about the need to be delicate and respectful with our sometimes strong opinions.

    TWW covers some extremely hurtful history (and current situations) in our very own “church”. Hopefully, we confront this positively, as the narrative needs to be addressed.

  54. I would like to encourage that we keep in mind a different perspective on this story. It may or may not be true, but it is feasible:

    Some people have postulated that PJ himself may be a victim of his father. This is a reasonable possibility. However, once we acknowledge that he might be a victim, I think it also behooves us to remember that victim’s memories of events can be seriously flawed. They may not remember anything at all until some other event triggers the memory. Sometimes, it is when their child gets to the age they were at the time of the abuse. Sometimes they seek treatment for depression and anxiety and share snippets of dreams they have and it begins to come together. Repressed memories are not uncommon among survivors. It’s also why their stories don’t always fit together neatly. They may have overlapping memories and/or things may have come back to them by the time they describe an incident again. That does not mean they are lying. It is evidence of how strong our brains’ defense mechanisms are to protect us from very painful material. These mechanisms not only protect us from past memories, but can cause us to react either with PTSD, or “blocking out” or other ways if something threatens to trigger them.

    If PJ may have been a victim, there are different questions that might be asked if he is to pastor a congregation well. Those are along the lines of how far he is along in his healing not what did he know and when did he know it.
    —- (I’m going to divide up this post for length )

  55. Second question: Is it possible that PJ did not know of the abuse?

    Another victim was quoted as not sharing his abuse with others and of not hearing of anyone else sharing theirs. “The victims said they had fallen so deeply under Mr. Smyth’s thrall that they hadn’t even dared to talk to one another about the horrors they had been subjected to in the shed.

    Many of them felt deep shame and said they had been resigned to the culture of abuse, which in their minds was a fact of life in the British education system at the time.”

    Do we believe this victim? If we do, is it reasonable to assume that PJ did not know of others’ abuse either?

    When PJ says his discipline was in line with the culture of the times, the culture included caning, though the severe extent and sexualization certainly was not officially sanctioned by the culture. We don’t know whether he was subjected to exactly the same thing, more, or less than others by his statement. It is reasonable to infer that he has some memory of physical discipline from his childhood. But how clear are those memories? Were all the memories present when he made the statement? Might others surface? Would he be lying if they did? Where does he, as a possible recovering victim, get the benefit of the doubt?

    I believe from the evidence presented that his father was a horrific abuser of a sadistic sexual nature. Also from the evidence presented, I can see that PJ might be a non-victim who is a knowing enabler; he might be a victim who is knowingly covering up for his father; he might be a victim who is unknowingly or only partially knowingly covering up for his father.

    At this point, PJ is not alleged to himself be an abuser. He is not alleged to be covering up abuse that occurred under his leadership as was Mahaney. He may or may not be knowingly covering up for his father.

    If he is a victim, what should the response of the church be? What if he is recovering memories? How does the church compassionately and wisely help? How does the church determine whether he is a threat to people under his current leadership?

  56. Dee, my daughter has Lupus and began methotrexate last year. That, along with other medications and therapies, is helping tremendously. I’ve just been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and expect to begin methotrexate too. Prayers for us all.

  57. dee wrote:

    Please help the Deebs by self monitoring.

    Yes, please let’s do. I believe that one of Messiah’s greatest lessons ever was about self-restraint (a common thread throughout Judaism too).

    Death and life are in the power of the tongue:
    — Proverbs 18:21 —

  58. dee wrote:

    elastigirl wrote:

    i love how the blog comment experience is like sitting around a dining room table noshing and sipping and yelling across at so&so and quiet side conversations with the one next to you, all at the same time.

    So, are you trying to make me cry. You nailed how I want this blog to be.

    lovely, lovely comments

  59. elastigirl wrote:

    i love how the blog comment experience is like sitting around a dining room table noshing and sipping and yelling across at so&so and quiet side conversations with the one next to you, all at the same time.

    Same here. We don’t know how lucky we are to have TWW. Some (of the ixtian variety) are exclusive country clubs of navel-gazers extraordinaire, and others are war-zones of Shiites and Sunnis (figuratively speaking) blowing up each other’s Mosques.

  60. PJ’s words, from the article:

    “Since writing this I have realized that it is not strictly accurate to say, “I was not involved with those interactions” and I am sorry for the confusion this has caused. I was seeking to write in a timely way what I remembered, but my memory was flawed”

    This is such a textbook case of non-apology. The use of the passive voice in the final clause is a dead giveaway, especially because it’s the final statement. It’s the period at the end of the sentence, metaphorically.

    Also look at the passive voice in the phrase, “the confusion this has caused.” Again, not “I’m sorry I caused confusion” (and I’d still consider that lack of taking full responsibility for his previous formal statement).

    And the paper-thin excuse of “I was seeking to write in a timely way…” This is just the way my ex-husband still tries to make excuses for bad behavior. It’s a misdirection, which allows him him to distance himself from the action before others, and in his own mind, to a degree.

    I think there’s more, but in the middle of writing this, I had to go intervene with our gander attacking one of our ducks, and had my finger attacked, hopefully not broken!

  61. @ dee:
    So very sorry about your arthritis along with all of the other challenges you are facing. I will try to be respectful and discreet.

    There are, IMO, double standards applied by some commenters, and I think we as a community should help one another be better at avoiding that because it is really not helpful. A Double Standard is evidence that there really is no standard. In this it is most helpful if we police our own tribe.

    IMO one of the most helpful commenters at TWW sees through a lot of the verbiage/garbiage and offers insights and questions that are provocative and sometimes uncomfortable. Other commenters are must-reads because they think so differently but always have something thoughtful to say. Still others I really miss…

  62. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Some study claimed that the most widespread characteristic of a Sociopath is the ability to Arouse Pity For Me, shift the blame, and play the Poor Poor Innocent Victim at the drop of a hat (dropping the hat themselves).
    And everyone except their victim(s) WILL believe them.

    A few weeks ago, I watched “Lady and The Tramp” from beginning to end for the first time that I can remember. The scene with the two nasty Siamese cats reminded me very much of your comments, HUG, regarding sociopaths and their manipulations.

    Two sociopaths working in tandem… *shudder*

  63. Abi Miah wrote:

    I believe from the evidence presented that his father was a horrific abuser of a sadistic sexual nature. Also from the evidence presented, I can see that PJ might be a non-victim who is a knowing enabler; he might be a victim who is knowingly covering up for his father; he might be a victim who is unknowingly or only partially knowingly covering up for his father.

    At this point, PJ is not alleged to himself be an abuser. He is not alleged to be covering up abuse that occurred under his leadership as was Mahaney. He may or may not be knowingly covering up for his father.

    If he is a victim, what should the response of the church be? What if he is recovering memories? How does the church compassionately and wisely help? How does the church determine whether he is a threat to people under his current leadership?

    Excellent thoughts and questions. Thanks for the food for thought.

  64. Dee,

    Thank you so much for working so hard, and for trying to bring our focus back where it belongs. I’m grateful for everything you do, and I hope that life will start treating you better soon.

  65. Gram3 wrote:

    A Double Standard is evidence that there really is no standard. In this it is most helpful if we police our own tribe.

    We try not to have double standards. But, when you are busy, trying to manage everything, we sometimes let comments go through without moderating them if we know the person. But, everyone, including moi, can be guilty of off comments. We would love it if you all would let us know when things are getting out of hand. Email us with subject line-Comment thread is going downhill or whatever.

  66. Muff Potter wrote:

    Death and life are in the power of the tongue:

    Muff, you sometimes denigrate yourself, calling yourself a heretic. But, this comment, and the video of Johnny Cash (my hero) show you to be a person of great faith. Many people could learn from a *heretic* like you.

  67. Dee – I’m really sorry to hear about the psoriatic arthritis, no fun at all. I hope all the Dr Pugs are caring for you faithfully at this time. Drs Linus & Bella send their love.

  68. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    elastigirl wrote:

    i love how the blog comment experience is like sitting around a dining room table noshing and sipping and yelling across at so&so and quiet side conversations with the one next to you, all at the same time.

    I have always loved this about this place, too. Well described.

    Me too! The whole family hanging out along with the prudish great aunt, the irksome brother-in-law, & the crazy uncle. I know I fit in there somewhere. Smiley Face…

  69. I’m sorry to hear of your health problems, Dee. You are much appreciated by this reader/commenter.

  70. Dee,

    My husband was diagnosed 30 years ago with ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid & psoriatic arthritis. My heart goes out to you & you will be in my prayers. Drs prescribed everything under the sun & nothing touched his pain until they put him on Enbrel, it was remarkable, he went from being bedridden & not being able to feed himself to back to work, able to swim, even downhill skiing. May your Drs. have wisdom from above. I appreciate all the work you & Deb do expose the darkness of CSA/spiritual abuse.

  71. Muff Potter wrote:

    elastigirl wrote:

    i love how the blog comment experience is like sitting around a dining room table noshing and sipping and yelling across at so&so and quiet side conversations with the one next to you, all at the same time.

    Same here. We don’t know how lucky we are to have TWW. Some (of the ixtian variety) are exclusive country clubs of navel-gazers extraordinaire, and others are war-zones of Shiites and Sunnis (figuratively speaking) blowing up each other’s Mosques.Muff, your description of those Christian blogs is right on. I’ve been in the middle of those heated battles ducking from enemy fire as well as friendly fire.

  72. Dee

    I am so sorry to hear about your psoriatic arthritis. My daughter has psoriasis with psoriatic arthritis and it is a real rascal to deal with. But at least the meds have cleared up her skin lesions.

    Somebody out there is collecting patient info to see if these patients can be treated by either a rheumatologist or a dermatologist but not have to see both at the same time. Young daughter has signed up to contribute her medical info to the study. She thinks it needs to be the rheumatologist. Me too.

  73. @ dee:

    “Many people could learn from a *heretic* like you.”
    ++++++++++++++

    “heretic”…. it’s the stupid-christian’s last resort in name-calling. just like, “oh yea?! well, you… you………..you smell!!”

    of course, a tongue-in-cheek moniker for yourself, Muff. pleasant irony, there.

  74. @ dee:
    Did not mean the Deebs have double standards. Some commenters on some recent threads have had some double standards, in my opinion. Which is just my opinion. The two of you put up with a lot.

  75. @ dee:

    @Dee … so sorry to hear about arthritis … I always appreciate how much effort you and Deb put into researching and sharing the accounts of those who’ve been harmed by abuse, and know how this must put a crimp in things for you.

    I’m dealing with a different form of arthritis, and the struggle to finish writing projects with hands that hurt is a bummer. Which is part of why I’ve not commented on TWW of late … have to focus energy elsewhere to get projects done while I can. So, hoping to keep up and show up more sometime in the future.

  76. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Rome duct-taped my head back together

    Seems the Italian phrase for duct tape is “nastro americano.” So maybe we tape their heads too.

    It’s good to know that the Roman Catholic Church helped you. Previously I think you mentioned the value of a church that has been around more than a couple of years. Large old institutions can have problems, but the groups that make it up as they go along don’t seem to get things right all the time either.

  77. Dee,

    I am so sorry to hear about your health problems. If I were there, I would pitch in to help out in any way I could.

    I am sorry to hear about the flooding in your kitchen and wet towels everywhere. When it rains it pours, or so it seems.

    I am glad that you were able to spend time with Mirele in AZ. How fun!

    Thank you and Deb for all that you do. And for the many tears that you have shed on your pillows for His hurting church and flock.

  78. Christiane,

    I am so sorry to hear of the death of your sister-in-law. I will be praying for all of you.

    Hugs,

    Velour

  79. Dee and Deb,

    I have a suggestion. I think that might want to post a sentence before the start of all comments on stories that you want comments to stay on topic. That people are free to use the Open Discussion thread for off-topic comments.

    You have told us all many times that you work very hard on these stories and research and that it is very discouraging when the thread is derailed. I agree.

    Thanks for all you do.

  80. Friend wrote:

    Large old institutions can have problems, but the groups that make it up as they go along don’t seem to get things right all the time either.

    It takes balance. A lot of times new groups start in response to problems with a previous group, but the pendulum swings too far one way or the other…balance is key.

  81. Abi Miah wrote:

    I believe from the evidence presented that his father was a horrific abuser of a sadistic sexual nature. Also from the evidence presented, I can see that PJ might be a non-victim who is a knowing enabler; he might be a victim who is knowingly covering up for his father; he might be a victim who is unknowingly or only partially knowingly covering up for his father.

    OK. Now what?

    If non-victim covering up, he’s an accessory to his father’s abuse.

    If a victim unknowingly/partially covering up, he needs (non-Noutheic) help.

    If a victim knowingly covering up, he’s intermediate between the above two, but still somewhat liable.

    In any case, making him Lead Pastor of a church which is already deep in abuse scandal is not good. Even if not culpable or an accessory, he’s probably pretty messed up by abuse; TWW has a lot of exposes about messed-up preachers even when they don’t go full-honk corrupt, and they can still mess up their people. Especially in a autocratic church structure with no real oversight, like a lot of those TWW shines the light on.

    If he were a cop, DA, or other secular authority figure, he’d be on paid leave pending investigation. At the very least, he needs to recuse himself and avoid the appearance of conflict of interest until the situation re his father is resolved and he is cleared or action taken regarding his level of culpability.

  82. Velour wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Thanks for making me laugh, H.U.G.

    A little treatment for OCD would do a lot to mellow out the Christianese ghetto. (Talking OCD, have you ever seen those Christian Movie reviews which consist entirely of how many times such-and-such sin/heresy was shown in said movie? Like they were watching it clicking a counter? Now THAT’s OCD.)

    Right now, we have the Smyth abuse scandal, Piper shooting off his Twitter finger, Driscoll & Got Hard hitting the comeback trail in triumph, Cee Jay remaining Humble(TM), WOFF trying to out-Scientology Scientology, and a lot of Handmaid’s Tale fanboys in pulpits and/or sucking up to Power. Enough to where a dozen Wartburg Watches would be needed to tackle all of them.

  83. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    well, whatever the cause, the result is needed here and I for one appreciate the gift of a chance to laugh at myself …..

    a favorite prayer of mine is: ‘Forgive us our foolish ways, O Lord.’
    And when I get the gift of laughter at my foolish ways, I can credit the Good Lord for directing help my way:
    you are appreciated. Now, go get some sleep!

  84. @ dee:

    Thank you so much, Dee. I am sorry to hear of the stuff you are dealing with. I appreciate what you are doing here so much. Things are pretty rough at the Siteseer residence right now, as well, maybe that’s why my patience is running a little thin. With prayer and the love of friends we’ll get through. I wish you every blessing.

  85. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    OK. Now what?
    If non-victim covering up, he’s an accessory to his father’s abuse.
    If a victim unknowingly/partially covering up, he needs (non-Noutheic) help.
    If a victim knowingly covering up, he’s intermediate between the above two, but still somewhat liable.

    We agree on these points.

  86. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    dee wrote:
    I, for one, am sick and tired of the debate of who is a truly saved Christian-be it evangelicals, catholics or orthodox. I leave the salvation issue up to the One who is at an infinitely higher pay grade.
    From experience, the de facto definition of “who is a truly saved Christian” is “Me, NOT Thee”.
    This week, I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and will begin methotrexate.
    Psoriatic arthritis?
    How does that differ from the baseline version?

    Look it up. There are many different kinds of arthritis. My son has reactive arthritis. It flares up in different ways. There is a gene marker linked to reactive arthritis, which he was tested for and has.

  87. n any case, making him Lead Pastor of a church which is already deep in abuse scandal is not good. Even if not culpable or an accessory, he’s probably pretty messed up by abuse; TWW has a lot of exposes about messed-up preachers even when they don’t go full-honk corrupt, and they can still mess up their people. Especially in a autocratic church structure with no real oversight, like a lot of those TWW shines the light on.
    If he were a cop, DA, or other secular authority figure, he’d be on paid leave pending investigation. At the very least, he needs to recuse himself and avoid the appearance of conflict of interest until the situation re his father is resolved and he is cleared or action taken regarding his level of culpability.

    I am less sure than you are that a person who has been a victim of abuse and is therefore “messed up” cannot pastor a church. We agree that he needs competent help. I believe if an abuse victim gets competent help, they can most often carry out their professional duties without their “issues” intruding. What would be your criteria for when someone’s abuse history disqualifies them from a job?

    Also, I am confused about what you are saying he needs to recuse himself from. I can understand that if he were a law enforcement officer, DA, etc. actually investigating his father that he would need to recuse himself. What has he done that would require that he be put on leave? If he were working in the mental health field, I know that he would not be put on leave or asked to stop seeing patients based only on what we have read here.

  88. Hmm. The quote thing didn’t work above. First paragraph is quoting HUG. 2nd two are my responses.

  89. Just so everyone know. The entire discussion about Catholics, pro and con is going to be removed. Plus those about Jews and the personal comments about people. This is being done as an amputation, not as brain surgery.

    Way too many people have crossed the lines in way too many ways.

    More details to follow. GBTC

  90. As Dee said:

    Please try to stick to the post for comments. We are not hard nosed about this but things have been getting off track. This post was about John and PJ Smyth and CLC. A major discussion on Catholicism is not warranted.

    Plus no personal attacks, demands for apologies, conflating everything with your personal issues, etc…

    Plus

    I, for one, am sick and tired of the debate of who is a truly saved Christian-be it evangelicals, catholics or orthodox. I leave the salvation issue up to the One who is at an infinitely higher pay grade.

    Since there seems to be interest in going down this road. I suggest that those who wish to debate this set up a simple blog and continue the debate. I might even visit and throw in a comment or two. However, this is not going to be allowed here.

    If people want to do this I will provide pointers on the open discussion page.

    But on the regular posts, cut it out.

  91. @ GuyBehindtheCurtain:

    I never debated who is a truly saved person. When the comments turned to a discussion of cult-like behavior or censorship, or spiritual abuse, I offered my perspective as one abused.

    FWIW, I disapprove of this new policy.

  92. @ Dale:

    Dale, you are putting your name onto something that I didn't. And I was quoting Dee about the general drift of some topics. We at TWW are all tired of all of these debates. You were part of some of them. As to whether or not you approve.; that and $5 will get you a cheap cup at Starbucks.

    If you make any more comments about our comment policy you will go on moderation. That is a rule. Been stated here many times. Stick with talk about the post topic or move on. MOD: Corrected last sentence.

    If you have a hobby horse you really want to ride into every topic then I strongly suggest you create a blog for this hobby horse to live in. It isn't hard. It just takes time to manage. But what you are doing is trying to inject what should be a blog of your making into our blog and tying up OUR time dealing with the results.

    End this.

    Now.

    And the ONLY reason I'm doing this in public is so others will know CLEARLY this is our policy.

    Any more comments on this will be deleted.

  93. okrapod wrote:

    Dee
    I am so sorry to hear about your psoriatic arthritis. My daughter has psoriasis with psoriatic arthritis and it is a real rascal to deal with. But at least the meds have cleared up her skin lesions.

    Is one of those meds a steroid?
    I understand steroids have an effect of clearing the skin.

  94. Thank you, Dee! I come back here because of the Deebs (and others of great heart).

  95. siteseer wrote:

    If there is a devil, John Smyth is him.

    I’m thinking of giving him a pseudonym like “John the Whipper”…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *